It’s a story that has been chuntering along for several years. At first, it was one of mild ridicule, a bit of joshing around the fact that in 2017, Nicola Sturgeon attended a photoshoot for the ‘launch’ of a boat that had painted-on windows and a pretend funnel because it had not been completed on time.
Two years later, with the boats still incomplete, the government paid nearly £130 million to the yard, but despite this injection of capital the shipbuilders went into administration and were taken into public ownership.
The following January an industry fixer, charging a consultancy fee of over £2,000 per day, was brought in by ministers to turn things around. He departed with a ton of public cash, but before the boats were finished.
The government is limping from crisis to crisis in their attempts to deliver these boats and shipbuilding experts suggest the final cost may reach over £400m, far outstripping the original £97m “fixed-price” contract.